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Steps of Evolution(?) in AOL

May 3, 2011

-by Story2Reality

  1. You’ll be poured with a list of logically correct knowledge, mixed with some true ancient knowledge. Later, you’ll read the same from other sources as well, and you’ll get convinced about AOL.
  2. You’ll be told that you should serve to evolve/culture your mind, and you’ll be preached about the value of Service. (And you’ll agree, because all of us know that service is a good thing though we are a bit lazy to do it).
  3. You’ll be framed into a mindset that you need to do something to get closer to the enlightenment. You need to attend satsangs, do seva, help organizing courses. You’ll agree again with-in, because you feel great when you’re in sat-sangs (sat-sangs are pretty good by the way 🙂 ), and because of the social connections you’ll build with in AOL circle. Also, if you’ve some spiritual sense, the idea of the higher cause or reaching the enlightenment will thrill you.
  4. You’ll be framed to think in such a way that to evolve, you should ‘serve’ in a particular way, normally by doing things like raising funds, forcing people to register for courses etc. Also, the goal of achieving the ultimate will get translated to stuff like “reaching the master” and “master is the doorway”, followed by lot of Guru stories in Phase 2 courses, DSN etc.
  5. You’ll be framed to think in such a way that you should transform your own mindset, and you should transform the mindset of others as well – to see Sri Sri as an authority of everything, an authority that controls everything.
  6. Slowly, this will take a mystic shape – You’ll start hearing stories of Sri Sri talking to Gandharvas, ancient Rishis, stopping or starting rains etc etc.
  7. By this time, you read a lot of books, hear the talks (Ashtavakra etc), and gets convinced that Sri Sri is already enlightened and he is here to liberate the world – mainly because of the wisdom you hear in those texts and talks. You may also start reading/hearing other vedanta talks etc, and will attribute the entire ancient wisdom to the Guru, and feel thankful about that.
  8. If you are meditating properly, you feel light, you’ll start realizing the benefits of meditation, and will attribute this to the Guru. You’ll enroll in TTC or so, and may start taking blessing courses etc. If your intentions are pure, you may even experiences the glimpses of the present movement, and you’ll cry because of gratitude.
  9. You’ll see a lot of money is going to AOL from courses, events etc – and may not understand how this money is utilized. You are not concerned, because you know nothing can go wrong in AOL.
  10. You get more close to the core, and you’ll start seeing people misbehaving. You’ll tolerate and you won’t respond because you need to show everyone that you are settled and any of these worldly, material things won’t affect you any more.
  11. You may find that now knowledge and wisdom is used like any other material posession. You use it out of convenience as most teachers do. It becomes another thing for the mind to chew on – instead of using it for self inquiry.
  12. You’ll start seeing inconsistencies in the words and deeds of Sri Sri himself. The Guru bumping the car against a girl by mistake, or speaking about a terrorist attack in Ashram that never really happened. This affects your strong belief that the Guru can’t go wrong.
  13. You’ll see the misbehaving of Guru’s close contacts and kith and kin. You may see manipulations with in the organization, using political influences to hide evidences, asking bribes for awarding ashram construction work, floating new companies for money making purposes.
  14. You see that a lot of ‘seva activities’ are not at all funded by the Ashram. You know that a lot of figures are extrapolated. You’ll start feeling the conflict intensively.
  15. You’ll see the initial progress you made in spirituality is no longer there. You’ll feel that you are more in a marketing organization rather than in a spiritual organization. The talk around you will mostly revolve around tasks to achieve, number of participants you should target, how big the next course should be etc.
  16. You feel bad, and know that something is not right.. But you can’t do anything because you are closely tied to the master either mentally or physically, and can’t stand by your own. You know with in that you are not free mentally, and you know that you are tied down with something, you feel the pain of bondage and want to be free. IF YOU ARE HERE, IT IS A PROBLEM. BE SELF DEPENDENT, AND START SOME DAMAGE CONTROL WITH IN YOU.
  17. If you decide to walk out, it will be a painful process. You’ll be mentally harassed, and will be dragged down. Friends will turn to be foes. So, if you want to get out, do it skillfully.
  18. You may or may not continue leveraging the good aspects of AOL. And most things you do like meditation etc are not the sole property of AOL, so you may continue to do that. Don’t make the mistake of doubting the spiritual knowledge because of the bad experience you had in AOL. You don’t want to go to the other extreme.
  19. For some time, you’ll be in a void. You need to re-construct your social circle and activity circle if you were too involved in AOL. You’ll also have an internal fear (the anti-extreme of the mystic highs you had in mind when you were in AOL).
  20. Get some help from family, friends or a counselor.
  21. Live happily. You are divine with in, and you may continue your life and spiritual journey with out sacrificing your freedom of self 🙂 From Gita – “The serious enquiry reveals the truth that the nature of self and god are identical. It requires great wisdom to assimilate this truth. It takes time, effort and hard work to move from God Dependence to Self Dependence for happiness, peace and security.”

Disclaimer: I understand that some people are enough self dependent that they are pretty happy with in AOL itself. This post is for the other set of people who are not very happy 🙂 .

  1. Peaceful Warrior permalink
    May 3, 2011 3:39 pm

    If you have not left your life behind to dedicate life to AOL seva, then spring comes back in no time. The hard part is finding people in the world who share your values and outlook towards life.

  2. May 4, 2011 3:17 am

    Thanks for the post. It lays out a clear path in and a clear path of aol. Unfortunately, the cognitive dissonance between what is believed about aol/ssrs and what is actually happening can be tolerated for a really long time – at least that was my experience and the experience of some friends. I was stuck at step 16 for a long time. I loved SSRS and yet something wasn’t right and I couldn’t quite put a finger on it. It took me a long time to find my way out; to discover that I didn’t want to make excuses for AOL/SSRS in my mind any more.

    • Researcher permalink
      May 10, 2011 4:37 am

      @DW: Yes, I too was stuck at step 15 and 16 for years. The reason was that I was so blinded in my faith in HHSSRS as the lord an master, I could not imagine him or his organisation doing any wrong. I used to come up with fascinating and fairy-tale like excuses to justify AOL to myself. The realisation of truth has to happen from within. Nothing else is so powerful.

  3. May 4, 2011 5:02 am

    Great Post.
    Perfect observations.

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